The Epistle of Ya qub ibn Isha¯q al-Kind on the Device for Dispelling Sorrows

ABSTRACT

Although less technical philosophically than many of al-Kind‡
¯’s known treatises, this Epistle remains basic for understandin g the spirit that
underlies his thinking. Socratic, yet very Kindian in spirit, this Epistle displays
its author’s tendency to harmonize Greek philosophy and Islam, particularl y as
this relates to ethics, and his belief in man’s free will and reason. To him,
sorrows may be caused either by our own actions or by the actions of others.
It is up to us to choose to do or not to do what saddens us. Through reason we
can eliminate some of the causes of sorrow when we perceive the intellectual
world, and derive from it things desired. Though this Epistle has a signiŽ cant
share of the linguistic and stylistic complexities characteristi c of al-Kind……
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